Before I start sharing 30 years of experience with you in the non-lethal field, I understand people have a habit of reading and drawing their own conclusion it is my intent to point out a few facts. One of these facts are any weapons regardless of the intent of design or use can cause serious bodily harms which may result in death and therefore can be considered lethal.
Since I train and certify officers and agencies in the use of non-lethal weapons, I was sent a video from an officer asking my opinion or what I thought of the video – please keep in mind that I have not personally seen this device, I have not tested it or have I personally experienced yet – my comments are below and here is the link to view –
I base these opinions on over 30 years of training and experience in law enforcement, corrections and as a US Marine, in addition to working with companies who manufacture these specialty impact munitions.
I have been deploying, training and certifying officers, military and agencies in the selection, handling and deployment of non-lethal weapons since 1990. I have tested and been sprayed with every chemical aerosol formulation and blend used in the industry today.
I have tested and been hit multiple times with electrical devices from shock-cuffs, shock-shields, probes, shot with darts or hit with stun guns, and I have tested and been shot with every specialty impact munition from a pepper-ball gun, FN 303, 12 gauge or 37/40 MM launcher (with protective gear on of course – which only work when the munitions hit that protective gear and the munitions are accurate).
However if you deliver enough focused energy upon impact to a person’s body either through a single deployment or multiple shots, the human body goes through immediate changes and responses during this transfer of the blunt force delivered into the body.
There are many factors that need to be taken into medical and tactical consideration – things like their body type and size, age of person, muscle and bone structure, distance from threat, angle of impact, intended target area in relation to where the munition actually hits, what is the point of aim to point of impact, how does weather, clothing, climate and other environmental factors play a role in the effect and accuracy of the munitions and performance, at what distance is needed to set up – verbally challenge and deploy the munitions safely, and a few more.
There have been attempts to match the deployment of OC with lethal options, OC with Riot Shields, OC with batons even OC with flashlights, electrical devices with Batons and Riot Shields, even electrical devices using a shotgun to deploy and this list goes on – and in the end – they ONLY work if you can control all of the variables in the situation in which the device was developed to perform in – and that is NOT the reality we live in.
Non-lethal weapons are a force multiplier and designed to save lives – the lives I am talking about are the officer at the scene, the lives of the innocent bystanders in the immediate area and even to the subject who is posing this threat.
Considerations to make
This list of lives I mentioned are in no specific order of importance as “All lives are just as important as the other” and now with that being said “Non-Lethal Weapons” are not used when it jeopardizes the lives of the officer at the scene who is duty bound to protect and serve their communities.
With this particular force alternative there are other factors to be taken into consideration such as
- With this alternative device an important concern is the second shot that could follow that would be lethal
- Remembering that any action initiates a reaction where one bullet leaving the barrel towards the target may stop the threat; the second bullet leaving the barrel would kill the threat
- What if there are two subjects and one officer, the time needed to load and fire another alternative round in the heat of the moment could produce drastic and life threatening results for the officer or the threat
- The use of specialty impact munitions are viewed as the extension of the police baton – and to think that one strike with this alternative device will stop the attack of an aggressive or combative subject would not be reasonable
- In any physical encounter using specialty impact munitions there is always the need for quick and fast follow up shots that may be necessary as when deploying specialty impact munitions like a bean bag or sponge round
Non-Lethal munitions are used to save lives not compromise the officer’s life. And until one can control all of the variables in a given situation, it is great to continue having ideas and initiate innovation in regards to non-lethal weapons and saving lives.
Keep them coming. We need better solutions out there that keep EVERYONE safe!
I am all for that and so are the many other trainers I speak to and the law enforcement, corrections and military members I train around the world seek. But remember this it starts with the ability to police ourselves – treat others with dignity and respect – hold yourself accountable for your actions, live within the laws we have to keep us safe and if we can’t do this on our own, it is then we call the police to do it for us!